Do Not Disturb by Neil Carpathios

Someone has hung it on my front door. It dangles from the knob. Stolen from a hotel, no doubt. Probably some neighbor kid did it on a dare. But wait. Ominous music starts to play. Like the soundtrack from Jaws. I stand in sweat pants, head swiveling for clues. From somewhere the deep voice of James Earl Jones says, “The man is clearly disturbed by the Do Not Disturb sign. Ah, the delicious irony of it!” I realize this is a documentary called Being Disturbed. I am the star. I pick up the paper on the stoop, go back inside. The front page disturbs me. I turn on the TV, the news disturbs me. I brush my teeth, the face in the mirror disturbs me. “To be or not to be disturbed, that is the question.” I hear that voice again and the music. I hurry to my car to go to work. I’m late. The car in front of me creeps. I hear those strings, then James Earl Jones: “Look at how stressed he is. Will he honk his horn?” I’m trapped in the video and can’t get out. Why couldn’t it have been a video called Great Sex Now or The Lottery Winner? At day’s end I go to bed. At least sleep should bring some peace. I dream I’m Franz Kafka. When I open my eyes the music is waiting. It gets louder. James Earl Jones laughs.

Neil Carpathios is the author of five full-length poetry collections, and his sixth (The Door on Every Tear) is due out in 2020 from Wipf and Stock Publishers. He teaches at Shawnee State University in Portsmouth, Ohio.

Photo by JD X

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